Mechanics work around tools and machinery. That means nearly all mechanics face more potential danger than office workers and others who do not work around heavy machinery and moving parts. But some mechanic jobs are a lot more dangerous than others. These jobs usually involve dangerous working conditions or working in unusual places—or both. The upside is that more dangerous jobs offer higher salaries.
Elevator mechanics and installers need to carry heavy equipment—often for long distances or up stairs—and they may work in small spaces and awkward positions. They also face hazards such as electrical shocks and falls. Working in elevator shafts and stairwells also exposes them to dust and allergens, and elevator mechanics may need to wear respirators in addition to other safety gear. Full-time elevator mechanics have a high rate of injury and illness, but the mean annual wage as of 2008 was £44,037, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Civilian Contractor in War Zone
Mechanics of all types are in high demand with private contractors in Iraq, Afghanistan and in other dangerous locations. While the work itself is no more dangerous than working at home, working in a war zone carries an added chance of injury or death from terror attacks, roadside bombs, friendly fire and kidnap. Aircraft mechanics are in particular demand. According to Salary.com, salaries for aircraft mechanics as of March 2010, including those working as contractors in Iraq, range from £37,815 (the lowest 10th percentile) to £62,260 (the highest 10th percentile).
Mining is a very dangerous occupation, according to Open-Site.org, though the industry works hard to improve safety standards. Mining mechanics may need specialised training to work in the unusual conditions found underground. Mechanics may need to repair machinery underground, in a very cramped space with only a headlamp for light. There are also dangers from gas and collapse. The mean income of mining machine operators and mechanics in 2008 was around £29,620, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Offshore Oil Rig Mechanic
Offshore work involves being away from home for weeks at a time and working in possibly dangerous environments, including working during storms and hurricanes and being a long way from help if there is an accident. Shifts may include working during the night and getting jobs done very quickly. Many oil rig workers work six months on and six months off, at a starting salary of £26,000 to £39,000 a year, according to Oiljob.com.